What to expect when flying LOT Polish Airlines

My recent trip to Slovenia saw me fly LOT Polish Airlines for the very first time.

In my mind, this was just another budget airline and I feared the worst. Especially since I was pushing my luck with my hand luggage allowance.

But gosh was I wrong. LOT Polish Airlines actually turned out to be a decent and modern airline. So to save you from the same misperception, let me tell you what to expect when flying LOT Polish Airlines.

* This is not a sponsored post. I did not receive any incentive to write about LOT. This is just me sharing my opinion and experience.

If you read my blog regularly, you are probably well aware that my usual go to airline is British Airways. But depending on destination (and price) I can’t always fly BA. So every now and then I venture out and use some of the others.

For this week’s trip to Ljubljana I opted for a connecting flight via Warsaw with LOT Polish Airlines. This was the first time I’ve flown with them and I didn’t really know what to expect.

Is LOT a budget airline? They are part of Star Alliance (same as Lufthansa, Eurowings and Austrian Air), so maybe not.

Does LOT cater during the flight?

How strict is LOT with hand luggage?

All those unanswered questions. Of course, checking their website gave me the official answer, especially in terms of hand luggage allowance. But we all know that for a lot of airlines the rules aren’t quite as black and white as the website suggests.

So if you are also preparing for your first flight with LOT Polish Airlines, let me shed some light by sharing my experience with them on my four flights (London to Warsaw, Warsaw to Ljubljana and back).

 Guide to flying LOT Polish Airlines - Travel for a Living

How do I check in for my LOT Polish Airlines flight?

Online check in on their website opens 36 hours before the flight and once you’ve completed check in, you can decide whether you’d like to print your boarding pass or want a mobile pass sent to your device via email or text message. No ‘you need to download an app first’ non-sense like you find with Ryanair for example.

If you can’t print or you don’t have a smartphone, don’t worry. You can just go to the check in counter at the airport and get your boarding pass printed there free of charge. Not a problem.

During check in a seat will be allocated to you free of charge. If you would like to choose your seat (be it window, aisle, front or back of cabin), you can do that, but you will have to pay for your seat (around 8 GBP).

How much hand luggage am I allowed to take on my LOT Polish Airlines flight?

This was the big question I had. Checking the LOT website, it states that you are allowed 8kg of hand luggage with overall measurements of 55 x 40 x 23 cm when flying Economy. In addition you are allowed a handbag or laptop bag that will need to fit underneath your front seat. When flying Business class your allowance goes up to 2 pieces of hand luggage with 9kg each.

As I was going to Slovenia for an entire week, I knew 8 kilos might be a little tight. So when I booked my ticket, I opted for checked luggage straight away. To check in a suitcase for each of the flights was an additional cost of 45GBP in total, however this was a lot cheaper than risking having to purchase additional checked luggage at the gate, which would come to a whopping 85 EUR.

However, as I was taking a connecting flight via Warsaw I was a little worried that my luggage might not make it to my destination or would delay me at Ljubljana airport, so I actually keeping it as hand luggage would be my preference (especially since my little trolley was well within the allowed hand luggage size).

But when I finished packing the evening before, my bag weight 10.5kg rather than 8…. Should I risk it? I wasn’t quite sure. As I’ve never flown LOT Polish Airlines before, I didn’t know how strict they were at the gates.

When flying Lufthansa or Eurowings (both also member of Star Alliance) they also have 8kg as a rule and occasionally weigh luggage at the gate, however if the bag was heavier it would just go into the hold, without you being charged. Ryanair for example is a totally different story. If your bag fails the allowance, you will be asked to pay big money.

In the end I decided to run the risk and take it as hand luggage. If they were to reject it at the gate, I could still hope that they put it into hold free of charge, since I did pay for checked luggage anyway.

When I boarded my LOT flight in Heathrow, no one really glanced at the luggage. Staff only checked passport and boarding pass.
Same for the second flight from Warsaw to Ljubljana (even though I did expect them to take the trolley off me for that second flight, as it was a much smaller plane and overhead luggage space was very limited).

On the way back I checked in my trolley (as I was given a bottle of Slovenian red wine as a leaving present and knew I wouldn’t be able to get that through security), so I didn’t have to worry about hand luggage allowance any more (which was probably a good thing, at that time the weight of my trolley had gone up to 13.5 kilos anyway… whoops).

Departing Ljubljana, ground staff asked travellers to leave their hand luggage trolleys at the bottom of the aircraft stairs and they were put into hold and returned to the door when landing in Warsaw.

Departing Warsaw for London, staff actually walked through and randomly checked bags, both for weight and for size. Whether they actually charged 85 EUR of anyone or put the bags into hold free of charge, I don’t know.

So it seems a little Russian roulette. You might be lucky and not get checked at all, or you might be one of the unlucky ones. My advice, if your bag is going to be considerably heavier than the allowed 8kg, I probably wouldn’t chance it and opt for checked luggage instead.

What to expect on board a LOT Polish Airlines flight?

Despite booking Economy I somehow ended up being the second person on board my flight to Warsaw. LOT does have 2 booking classes on board, Economy and Business, but it seems Business wasn’t a very popular choice that morning (the entire flight was far from full, resulting in almost every row having the middle seat free… perfect).

The flight from London to Warsaw was a Boeing 737 Max 8 with a very clean and modern cabin, with thin but comfy seats with adjustable back rests and head rests. Whilst legroom wasn’t massive, it was comparable to that of Lufthansa and BA (and certainly more than you’d get with Ryanair).

The colour scheme is muted in light grey and blue (a far cry from the dated blue and yellow Ryanair decor or the rather loud orange branding of Easyjet).

All seats offered power sockets (suitable for UK, Europe and US) and USB chargers.  Small disadvantage was that there were no coat hangers to the side of the chairs, but since the flight wasn’t full, it wasn’t a massive issue and the winter coat could just go into the overhead storage.

Talking of overhead storage, they are huge. Big enough to allow trolleys to be stored sitting on their side, therefore you can get loads more trolleys in there than in some of the other airlines (including BA and Lufthansa).

The folding table was sufficient for snacks and drinks, but a little narrow when trying to use it as a laptop rest (so I eventually folded it up and had it on my lap instead).

As I sat down I checked the menu in the seat pocket in front of me, to see what catering LOT offers on their short haul flights.

LOT Polish Airlines offers a selection of foods, snacks and drinks to buy. Prices are shown in Polish Zloty, so you might have to do some maths to work out the price of things. But once you’ve worked it out, you will notice that the prices are actually good value. A 330ml can of soft drink costs 5 PLN (1 GBP), yoghurt with granola and strawberry sauce for breakfast 6 PLN (1.20 GBP), and various snacks and sweets like chocolate bars and Haribo range from 5-10 PLN (1-2 GBP).

Much to my surprise, once we were airbourne and had reached cruising height, cabin staff started service and offered free coffee, tea and water to all passengers, as well as a little chocolate bar to go with it. So you didn’t have to buy anything at all to keep you fed and watered for the flight. If you were to fly long haul, you would probably want to opt for a purchased meal, but even then prices seemed fairly reasonable (as an example, they had a chicken lunch with vegetables and mash on the menu for 15 PLN (3 GBP).

My second flight from Warsaw to Ljubljana was on a Bombardier DHC-8-40, which obviously is a much smaller plane that the Boeing 737, with only two seats either side of the gang way. No in seat power on that flight, but even though overall space is more restricted, you get a similar amount of legroom. And a coat hanger and decent size table that actually fits a laptop. So give and take.

As the Bombardier is a propeller aircraft and I was sat in row 8, which is literally next to the propeller, the flight was a bit more noisy and bumpy than the London to Warsaw one. But that is due to the aircraft type, not due to the airline chosen.

Same as on the first flight, we were offered free coffee, tea and water as well as a chocolate bar.

Things to know about LOT Polish Airlines

LOT Polish Airlines is the flag carrier for Poland and has recently turned 90, making it one of the oldest airlines still operating today.

LOT Polish Airlines is part of Star Alliance (along with Lufthansa, Eurowings and many more), giving you access to a larger network (very reassuring if for any reason things go wrong). If you are a member of the Miles & More programme, you can collect or redeem miles.

If you book business class or hold a Star Alliance Gold or Lufthansa Senator card, you have access to the LOT Polish Airlines airport lounges.

So what did I think of LOT Polish Airlines? Even though I didn’t know what to expect when flying LOT Polish Airlines, I did enjoy the flights. It sure is an airline that offers good customer service and modern aircrafts. And I’d happily fly it again.

Did you fly LOT before? What was your experience with them? Tell me

* This is not a sponsored post. I did not receive any incentive to write about LOT. This is just me sharing my opinion and experience.

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4 Comments

  1. My Week in Slovenia – Travel for a Living

    […] This was my first time flying LOT Polish Airlines and I didn’t quite know what to expect. […]

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  2. Amy Dodd

    I have never flown LOT before but it seems like a decent airline! The power outlets alone would sell me – I love when airlines have a way to charge your devices while on board.

    Reply
    • Travel for a living

      Yes I was really surprised. In my mind it was ‘just another budget airline’, gosh was I wrong. And yes, having power outlets is such a great thing. Pair is with free wifi (like Norwegian Air does) and it would have been heaven.

      Reply
  3. Lisanne

    Great review! I had never heard of Lot Polish airlines before I read this!

    Reply